• Courtyard Houses / Jean-François Zevaco

Architects: Jean-François Zevaco  
Location: Agadir,  Morocco
Interior Décor: Jean-François Zevaco
Project Year: 1965
Photographer: A. Goldenburg

The Aga Khan Award for Architecture winning Courtyard Houses by Jean-François Zevaco were commissioned by the Moroccan Ministry of Interiors on a site which is 5,200M2 of flat terrain in the very centre of Agadir. Agadir is a Moroccan City on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, near the foot of the Atlas Mountains.

Courtyard Houses / Jean-François Zevaco

The objectives were to design dwellings that were economical to build, easy to maintain and suited to the lifestyle of an urbanised middle-income Moslem civil servants. The units also had to be sensitively oriented with regard to climate and the architect comes up with a project where the spaces have been perverted through the covering over some patios to make additional living space

The group of dwellings is located just behind the mosque, next to the elementary school, and within minutes walking distance of the other major public institutional buildings and the commercial shopping district. Hotels which are the major attractions to Agadir are located along the shoreline a close distance from the development.

Courtyard Houses / Jean-François Zevaco

The development consists of 17 semi-detached single-storey dwellings which are of two kinds which are Type A of 3 rooms, kitchen and bathroom with 340M and Type B consisting of 4 rooms, a kitchen and bathroomwhich are 750M2.

The houses are arranged in two blocks, one with 4 Type A dwellings and 6 Type B, with the other consisting of 3 of Type A and 4 of Type B.

Courtyard Houses / Jean-François Zevaco

The major difference between the houses is the creation of 2 bedrooms in the place of 1 by extending the bedroom area of Type A into the adjacent patio and creating a partition. The bathroom has a change in shape but the location remains.

The houses are accessed through an entrance located at the end of a long, narrow garden which also serves as the entrance court. The houses enclosure has L-shaped areas which provide each room with double orientation to the outside, onto a garden or patio. The double orientation gives the possibility for good air flow and cross-ventilation.

Courtyard Houses / Jean-François Zevaco

Respect for the lifestyle of Moslem Moroccans dictated the provision of the protected outdoor spaces which act as an extension to the family life out from the main house. The house layout by the architect illustrates how Moroccan houses are utilised.

The structures are constructed in reinforced concrete frame which was an implementation of the strict anti-seismic regulations developed after a disastrous earthquake that destroyed the city. The walls are constructed in cement block infill covered with a cement coating. The floors are finished in.

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